When it comes to quality public education and cultural programs for young people, private support and funding make a big difference. Here's how these companies prove they care about education:
The Wachovia Foundation is committed to programs and partnerships that provide support for teachers as a means of improving student achievement. In 2004, it developed the Wachovia Foundation Teachers and Teaching Initiative. This multimillion-dollar program provides funding to organizations that enhance teacher recruitment, development, support, and retention, with the goal of increasing K-12 student achievement. Wachovia is also a founding corporate partner of Teach for America, the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teaching in urban and rural public schools.
Through its signature National Backpack Program, now in its seventh year, the Office Depot Foundation has provided more than a million backpacks to needy children. Office Depot also supports schools and communities through the 5% Back to Schools Program. It provides credits for free supplies to local schools when parents shop at Office Depot. The Kids in Need Teacher Grants program provides K-12 educators with funding to help them provide innovative learning opportunities for their students.
Best Buy supports communities in technology-inspired ways. It has provided funds for schools to purchase technology, supported innovative programs that use technology to make learning fun for kids, and turned its employees into volunteers throughout the country. Best Buy stores have given over $13 million in Best Buy Teach Awards to help schools bring interactive technology into the classroom.
For more than 60 years, AT&T and its foundation have committed $1.8 billion to philanthropic programs supporting education; community development; the arts, health and human services, and technology access in communities across the country. With its strong giving record, the AT&T Foundation was ranked by Forbes magazine as being among the most generous corporate foundations in 2006. Last year, AT&T provided more than $21.8 million to support education initiatives across the nation. Through its continued support of the AT&T 20/20 Vision for Education program, AT&T works to expand opportunities for online learning to low-income and minority students in the southeastern United States.
In 2002, Staples launched its Foundation for Learning and since then has contributed to hundreds of grassroots groups across the nation whose missions conform with Staples' "teach, train, and inspire" campaign. In addition, Staples has several in-store campaigns, including Recycle for Education, a national fundraising initiative that makes it easy to raise money for state education and teach kids the importance of recycling. Staples will donate $3 directly to your school for every eligible ink and toner cartridge you collect — money that can be used for school programming, fundraising, or whatever your school chooses.
This giant in hipster hardware gives back to its student consumers and their educational institutions. 1 to 1 Learning works with K-12 schools to provide each student with access to a wireless laptop for school and home, enabling communication and collaboration among peers and teachers — and connecting parents to their children's learning. Apple Learning Interchange offers free content, ranging from simple lesson ideas to in-depth curriculum units for K-12 educators.
Ford Motor Company
Ford and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, support numerous arts and educational institutions as well as cultural programs — from touring art exhibits and performing arts events to university scholarships and educational programs for elementary schoolers. The Ford Family Programs at New York City's Museum of Modern Art are outstanding — and they're free. They encompass a variety of activities, including guided tours, art workshops, artist talks, film screenings, family activity guides, and a family Web site. Currently, Ford is sponsoring several national touring exhibitions geared toward school-age kids and their families. One, "Robots," combines film, art, and education to explain how robots will continue to improve our lives.
Lowe's Toolbox for Education funds school improvement projects initiated by parent groups. It provides grants of up to $5,000 for public-school improvement projects. In 2006, Lowe's awarded grants to almost 1,000 schools. Additionally, Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, International Paper, and National Geographic Explorer! magazine have teamed up to create an outdoor classroom grant program whose focus is to engage students in hands-on natural science experiences and allow enrichment opportunities across the core curriculum.
Through the Box Tops for Education program, parents clip box top coupons on more than 180 General Mills brands and send them in to their school, which then redeems them at 10 cents per coupon. Many parent-teacher organizations hold periodic school-wide box top collections to generate funds. This program is General Mills' largest strategic philanthropy effort, with 95 percent of America's K-8 grade schools participating. General Mills has given more than $200 million to schools through Box Tops.
Take Charge of Education® is a school fundraising program: Target credit-card holders can designate up to 1 percent of their card purchases to the K-12 school of their choice. To take advantage of this program, visit. At present, more than 102,000 schools and more than 3.5 million Target customers participate in the program. Celebrating its 10-year milestone this year, Target has donated more than $200 million to participating schools since the program's inception. Launched in 2006, the Target Field Trip Grants Program helps educators bring learning to life through the distribution of field trip grants. In the program's first year, nearly $800,000 was awarded to 800 educators across the country.